Though Fushimi Modern Japanese Cuisine & Lounge's menu and daily specials board boast French-inspired fusion food, its sushi is deeply rooted in tradition–and this combination has earned its dishes Zagat ratings and a Michelin recommendation. Chefs may reinterpret the presentation of Japanese staples—such as the tuna sashimi, which they set on broad leaves next to bean-sprout-entangled roe—but they still stay true to traditional flavors. By contrast, cooked fusion entrees tend to incorporate the unconventional, such as the tuna burger with spicy aioli, available on the weekend brunch menu, and the mushroom risotto made with black rice (a dish praised by New York Magazine in their critics' pick review.)
At all locations, the decor also melds old and new. At the bar at the Staten Island location, crimson light filters through a canopy of metallic foliage, casting a moody aura across Buddhist statuettes imported from Asia. The neon-lit Williamsburg location has a sleeker feel, its booths nestled in large circular openings that bring to mind subway tunnels or the oversized portholes of Paul Bunyan's mythical submarine. In Bay Ridge, the stateliness of traditional chandeliers contrasts with the bold colors of wall-sized photographs.
The foundation of Goodfella's signature brick-oven pizzas starts with high-quality ingredients such as semolina dough, fresh mozzarella, and homemade sauce. Yet that’s not the only way to make a pizza that gets a lot of attention: at the International Pizza Challenge in 2007, 2009, and 2012, the pizzeria took home prizes in the nontraditional pizza category for the unorthodox toppings its chefs paired with that base. Now they bring that creativity to Goodfella’s every day, with ingredients that include roasted rosemary potatoes, roasted-pepper-cream sauce, and peas, just some of the toppings on the 12 specialty pies. Alternatively, diners with their own visions of the ideal pizza can opt instead to create their own combinations. Pizza aside, the Goodfella's Bayonne's menu includes Italian and American classics such as homemade cheese ravioli and 16-ounce steaks seared in a brick oven at 900 degrees, the same temperature required to melt potatoes back into vodka.
Family-sized platters emerge from the kitchen alongside individual portions of familiar Italian entrees, entering into a petite but lavishly dressed dining room that the Hudson Reporter referred to as "one of those quality places that doesn’t intimidate you" in a 2011 feature. The menu's selection boasts housemade ravioli, grilled Atlantic salmon, and cuts of veal in one of the chefs' hearty sauces. To accompany meals, Buon Appetito also stocks its cellar with wines from across Italy and California, including fruit-forward reds and refreshing whites that are chilled to their ideal drinking temperatures inside of an igloo.
The dining room maintains a welcoming yet refined ambience, with black linens draped over every table, a ceiling lined with small crystal chandeliers, and walls filled with vibrantly colored vintage advertisements. Buon Appetito's delicatessen fulfills a separate gastronomic purpose, plying visitors with cheeses, sausages, and imported Italian foods instead of fully prepared entrees.
In a dining room the 2010 Michelin guide described as "a fresh, modern interior soaked in beautiful, natural light," according to their website, servers at Indian Clove deliver a diverse roster of Indo-Chinese dishes. As patrons sip salted, spiced lassi, daily lunch buffets heap plates with both vegetarian and nonvegetarian entrees. Grilled-chicken tikka and lobster cook inside the traditional clay oven known as a tandoor as chefs with a "serious talent for Indian fare," according to Michelin, prepare classics such as samosas and lamb vindaloo. Drinks and live DJs complement these classic flavors in the bar and lounge, where hanging orange lamps sprout from carefully watered light bulbs to illuminate cocktails.
The skilled cooks at BBQ Master are no strangers to an open flame, deftly smoking, searing, and saucing triple-decker sandwiches, burgers, and racks of pork daily. Atop heaping plates, molasses-rich barbecue sauce smothers juicy chicken while pork ribs sizzle on the grill. Customers can complement smoky meats with classic sides, including corn on the cob, macaroni, and baked beans.
Owner and chef Francis Szklarski infuses his authentic Italian menu with innovative pasta courses and a smattering of fresh seafood. Sautéed with garlic, mussels from the Prince Edward Islands ($8.95) arrive in pools of sweet or spicy marinara, and portobello ($7.95) earns a chance to wrestle in a higher weight class by stuffing itself with mozzarella-topped crabmeat. Curled up on a leafy bed of sautéed spinach, veal saltimbocca ($19.95) stays warm under a heavy blanket of prosciutto and mozzarella, and Mulberry Street shrimp ($18.95) arrives on plates lightly breaded and fried in mildly spiced sweet marinara over a heaping portion of linguine. An extensive assortment of wines matches each entree, as do more than 40 martinis concocted behind the martini lounge's chic black-granite bar. Amici's ambiance evokes Italy with paintings, wall sconces, and frequent leaning towers of spaghetti.